My family’s tradition of strawberry picking started when our boys were 2 years old. Three years later, they are still begging to head back to the farms for strawberry picking. They love being able to participate, and their faces light up when they pick a strawberry and get to enjoy the fruit of their labor. To me, that is a win in our list of summer activities.
We hope our guide is helpful and makes your trip even more fun. Grab your sunscreen, hat, buckets, and boots and start your summer off with a juicy treat!
We’ve noticed that many farms rely on their Facebook pages to provide updates, so we’ve included a link to each of their page to make it simpler to track updates. You’ll also find a map of the farms, tips for what to bring, how to pick berries, and how to store them once you get home.
The strawberry season in Illinois usually begins between April and June and continues for 3–4 weeks, depending on the weather and how many people come to pick. This can vary with weather patterns, so it is best to check with the farm you are planning to visit to find out when they expect to open for the season.
Most farms recommend checking their Facebook page or calling beforehand for more up-to-date information regarding their crops. We have provided the most up-to-date information possible for each farm, but please call ahead or check their site for further information.
Strawberry Picking Map
Where to Pick Strawberries in 2023
- U-pick strawberry season ended on June 3, 2023
- According to their Facebook page, they will be open sometime mid-June.
- Check their Facebook page for when they announce exact dates.
- Will not be open for 2023 for U-pick due to the weather.
- U-Pick will be available in limited quantities for 2023 due to weather reasons.
- No dates have been announced for strawberry picking as yet.
- Hours and pricing for 2023 are TBD. They only grow seasonal fruits like red raspberries, blackberries, concord grapes, and strawberries.
- They allow strollers and even picnics on their farm, so be sure to call for more details.
- Costs of strawberries are: $5.25/pint, and $8.25/quart.
- Strawberry U-Pick is now open.
- Please check their Facebook page for daily updates.
- U-Pick opening date for 2023 is not yet confirmed. Strawberry season typically starts in early June runs through late June or early July.
- Please note that their website is not being updated; check Facebook for the latest information
- They provide both quart boxes (holds about 1.5 pounds) and also cardboard flat boxes (holds about 9-11 pounds) for U-pick options.
- U-Pick opening date is estimated for mid-June, July and September till frost.
- Hours: Daily 8:00am – 5:00pm
- U-Pick opening date is expected mid-June 2023.
- The farm has organized family days before for strawberry picking where entry is charged per vehicle for all you can pick. Refer to their Facebook page for updates.
- U-Pick will open in June for the farm’s Strawberry Festival on June 10 and 11, June 17 and 18 ; and June 24 and June 25.
- Strawberry Madness Festival every weekend in June with kids activities, treats and more.
- General admission starts at $12 and includes all activities except the train and produce cannons. All access tickets are $20.
- Strawberry U-pick will kick off June 6, 2023.
- 2023 prices are $14/U-Pick 4 quart, $8/U-Pick 2 quart, $4/U-Pick quart.
- U-Pick opening date is not quite ready for 2023, but they’ve updated that it will be happening soon. Be sure to watch their Facebook page.
- Pricing on their website currently shows: $6 for a 1-quart basket, $12 for 2-quart basket, $18 for a 4-quart basket
- A $6 minimum strawberry purchase per person is required to enter the strawberry patch for ages 3+
- Hours during strawberry picking: Daily 8:30am – 5:00pm
- 4 acres of strawberries with four different varieties
- Opening date has not been announced.
- Their website states that the best picking happens the second week of the season, which is normally around June 10th. Follow their social media for updates.
- U-Pick started on June 3, 2023 and will be open for the season on Thursdays through Sundays.
- Pricing from 2023: $18 per 4 quart basket (cash only), pick 6 baskets and pay for 5 baskets. Entrance fee: Weekdays $5.00/car, Weekends $12.00/car.
- U-Pick opening date has been tentatively announced as June 15.
- Hours and pricing for 2023 are still TBD on their website.
Planning Your Strawberry Picking Trip
Always call before you go picking to verify hours and crop availability. Ask if the fields are picked over or still have a decent amount of strawberries left to pick. Some fields are picked clean by lunchtime on the weekends! It’s definitely not as fun when the berries are hard to find.
Some farms do not supply containers, while others require that you use their supplied containers. Some farms even offer a discount if you bring your own buckets. Call to check the farm’s policies before you leave.
I also recommend asking when the fields were sprayed. Sometimes, freshly sprayed farms make it less appetizing for sampling as you pick. It’s way more fun, especially for the kids, to pick if you can taste along the way!
Check if wagons and strollers are allowed and if there are tractors to drive you out to help plan your trip.
Things to Bring Strawberry Picking
Consider the heat and sun while picking. There often aren’t trees around strawberry fields so the berries can receive full sun, which means you will get full sun too! This may mean wearing a hat while picking, wearing sunscreen, and light clothing. You may also want to bring or apply bug spray before going as well.
Pack water, and drink often! You are bent over, crawling on the ground and it is easy to get dizzy in the heat.
Don’t wear nice clothes or shoes. Especially with kids, you almost always get strawberry juice on your clothes. Usually there is straw or mulch between the rows of plants, but depending on how much rain there has been, there could be mud underneath, too. Bring a change of clothes for the kids (and maybe yourself too)!
Strawberry Picking Tips
Strawberries do not ripen after being removed from the plant. The size of a strawberry does not affect how sweet the fruit will taste. Many strawberries ripen under the leaves of the plant, so it helps to gently lift the leaves to look towards the center of the plant.
Strawberries keep better if you pick them with the cap and stem on. Pull the strawberry at the stem with a slight twist and it should come off with the cap and stem. Don’t stress about it too much though because they are still fine without the cap and stem.
Some things you should expect when you come to visit. Strawberries ripen quickly and picking conditions can change fast.
When You Get Home
Don’t wash your strawberries until you are ready to eat them. Washing makes them more prone to spoiling. Wash in cool water to remove dirt and store in the refrigerator. If you would like to wash some ahead of time to stash in the fridge, prepare a bowl or water with some white vinegar, gently swish the strawberries in the bowl, then drain and rinse with fresh water. The vinegar taste is rinsed off, but the strawberries will store longer.
To freeze your strawberries: wash and hull them (cut off the green part and remove the core), dry them really well by patting them dry or laying them out to dry on your counter. Lay them on a cookie sheet covered in wax paper and put in freezer. When completely frozen, transfer them into Ziploc bags, removing as much air as you can. Strawberries will be slightly mushier than other frozen fruits when unfrozen, but they are still delicious. Berries can keep for months in the freezer, so don’t hesitate to freeze extras!
For more ways to get out and enjoy the fresh air as a family, check out our guide to summer activities in 2023.